Process of Designing our exclusive 'Bee Happy Blooms' fabric print

Lauren shares her fun experience of bringing a fabric print to life from idea to reality!

In this post I wanted to share the details about the fun process of bringing our new and exclusive ‘Bee Happy Blooms’ fabric design to life.

This print was designed and created to mark and celebrate 10 years since I opened the doors of Guthrie & Ghani to our wonderful customers in April 2013.

Over the past decade, the business has grown, developed and changed so much! I feel more passionate than ever about inspiring and enabling our lovely customers to sew their own clothes, to get joy and personal reward from that, to feel like they can learn and achieve something and feel proud and look amazing in what they have made for themselves.

To celebrate this landmark for the business and to celebrate the success of you, our lovely customers, and how amazing you are for being on a dressmaking and sewing journey, I have collaborated with the very talented designer, Rachel Parker, to design and bring you this beautiful fabric print.

The full fabric print was revealed at a magical, immersive in-person birthday event at the shop (in Moseley, Birmingham) on Saturday 1st April as part of a gorgeous new g&g Sewing Society kit featuring the Closet Core Nicks Top and Dress.

The fabric is also available by the metre, along with limited edition notebooks and woven sew in labels - while stocks last!

Hear me chat about it in my latest Youtube Video or read on for lots of lovely pictures and details of the fabric designing process.

The Idea

Over the past 10 years since I opened the doors of guthrie & ghani, the business has grown, changed and evolved so much. At what feels like a landmark stage I am more passionate than ever at inspiring and enabling/facilitating our customers to sew their own clothes, to get joy and personal reward from that, to feel like they can learn and achieve something and feel proud and look amazing in what they have made.

What better way to give our customers something to be excited and happy about their next project than designing a fabric from me to them?!

After working with fabrics in the shop over the past 10 years and seeing what must be thousands of different fabrics prints, I felt like I had a pretty good idea of what would work well in a fabric print for dressmaking for the lovely g&g customers.

Following the success and popularity of our exclusive Chicacheetah print that was designed by Rachel Parker, I knew that Rachel would be the ideal designer to collaborate with to create something really special for our 10th birthday. I love the aesthetic of her bright, bold and colourful designs and it has been a joy to work with Rachel to design a print that I know my amazing customers will love just as much as I do!

Below is our Chicacheetah print that was initially on a viscose base cloth and was re coloured and printed onto an Organic Cotton French Terry Base that was also released as part of our birthday month celebrations.

Initial concepts

Being new to designing a fabric from scratch, my initial brief and ideas were a bit more general. I knew I wanted:

  • Lots of colour
  • A bright floral print for spring and to coordinate with the time of year the birthday month is in April
  • Something that makes you feel happy and bright, fresh and light, puts you in a good mood
  • A size and scale that is abstract enough not to worry about pattern matching
  • Not so small its very ditsy, but not so big it is overpowering
  • Ideally non directional, so pattern placement wasn't an issue
  • To have details in the print so that every time you looked at it would would be able to spot some other kind of detail or nuance

After chatting things over with Rachel I did research to find flowers and plants that not only did I think were beautiful but were connected to me and where I am from in some way. Either linked to me and my family by name, where the flower is commonly grown and it’s link to April/Spring time here in the UK.

This was my initial list of names and pictures that I sent over to Rachel.

  • Bee - to represent the Sewing Bee
  • Herb Sophia
  • Sophia Fuchsia - Sophia's favourite flower
  • Sophia Renaissance Rose
  • Solomon's Seal
  • Daisies and sweet peas - birth flowers of April
  • Harebell - common wildflower in Scotland
  • Lauren Peony
  • Dahlia ‘Lauren Michelle’
  • Polyantha Rose ‘Lauren’

Initial sketches and bringing together designs

The first stage of seeing these ideas come to life was beautiful and delicate sketches, paintings and drawings that Rachel had done by hand in her sketch books. She then brought them together digitally and contrasted them over a light and dark background so that we could see if things were heading in the right design direction.

Next was starting to fill out the repeat, working on scale and rotating elements around.

It was at this stage that I started to feel unsure about the spec of it being non-directional. Some of the more bolder elements, like the Solomon's Seal plant and flower buds were looking too upside down for me so I decided to change it to being a direction print.

We also worked on getting the scale right and I would print out different versions at 100% scale and hold the paper up in front of me to try and visualise what it would look like as a garment in the context of a body. Getting the scale also wasn’t as straight forward as making the whole thing bigger or smaller, it was about getting the proportions of different elements right as well and making some bigger/smaller in relation to each other.

We also tried out various options with the leaf design as well, trying to look at the overall balance of the print and the dominant colours.

Once the final design was right on the original colourway it was then recoloured onto a navy and a teal background. This meant that all the elements had to be individually recoloured as well so that it would still look cohesive and tone together.


Once the final designs were complete it was onto getting them printed. My vision at the start was to have a floaty, flowing fabric that would drape beautifully and look great in details like gathers.

I got some ‘stikes offs’ (these are like larger swatches created to give you an initial idea of what it will look like) on different base clothes and examined them for feel and drape as well as print clarity. The first batch weren’t quite right, it was as if the thread that had woven the fabric was a bit thicker and the thread density wasn’t high enough to pick up on all the amazing details that were in the print.

So round two I tried the strike offs on a different base, an Ecovero Viscose fabric, and they looked great! The print clarity was much better and the fabric felt buttery soft with the movement and drape I was hoping for.

Then it was time to go into production and have all the fabric printed! I received a 1m length of each print to double check scale and quality then patiently waited until the main bulk of stock was shipped to the UK.

Once it arrived the team and I got busy making all the beautiful samples for the new g&g Sewing Society kits!

I hope you’ve found this little insight into the process of designing the fabric interesting and more importantly I hope you love the fabric as much as I do! I can’t wait to see what you make with it, whether it's the Closet Core Nicks Top/Dress from the kit or another gorgeous garment!

Don’t forget to share it with us using the hashtags #guthrie-ghani #gandgsewingsociety #BeeHappyBlooms


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